How Landfills Works

You­ have just finished your meal at a fast food restaurant and you throw your uneaten food, food wrappers, drink cup, utensils and napkins into the trash can. You don’t think about that waste again. On trash pickup day in your neighborhood, you push your can out to the curb, and workers dump the contents into a big truck and haul it away. You don’t have to think about that waste again, either.

But maybe you have wondered, as you watch the trash truck pull away, just where that garbage ends up.

Americans generate trash at an astonishing rate of 4.6 pounds (2.1 kilograms) per day per person, which translates to 251 million tons (228 million metric tons) per year [source: EPA]. This is almost twice as much trash per person as most other major countries. What happens to this trash? Some gets recycled or recovered and some is burned, but the majority is buried in landfills. In this article, we will examine how a landfill is made, what happens to the trash in landfills, what problems are associated with a landfill and how these problems are solved.

Operations –

During landfill operations the waste collection vehicles are weighed at a weighbridge on arrival and their load is inspected for wastes that do not accord with the landfill’s waste acceptance criteria. Afterward, the waste collection vehicles use the existing road network on their way to the tipping face or working front where they unload their load. After loads are deposited, compactors or dozers are used to spread and compact the waste on the working face. Before leaving the landfill boundaries, the waste collection vehicles pass through the wheel cleaning facility. If necessary, they return to the weighbridge in order to be weighed without their load. Through the weighing process, the daily incoming waste tonnage can be calculated and listed in databases. In addition to trucks, some landfills may be equipped to handle railroad containers. The use of ‘rail-haul’ permits landfills to be located at more remote sites, without the problems associated with many truck trips.

Typically, in the working face, the compacted waste is covered with soil daily. Alternative waste-cover materials are several sprayed-on foam products and temporary blankets. Blankets can be lifted into place with tracked excavators and then removed the following day prior to waste placement. Chipped wood and chemically ‘fixed’ bio-solids may also be used as an alternate daily cover. The space that is occupied daily by the compacted waste and the cover material is called a daily cell. Waste compaction is critical to extending the life of the landfill. Factors such as waste compressibility, waste layer thickness and the number of passes of the compactor over the waste affect the waste densities.

Impacts –

A large number of adverse impacts may occur from landfill operations. These impacts can vary: fatal accidents (e.g., scavengers buried under waste piles); infrastructure damage (e.g., damage to access roads by heavy vehicles); pollution of the local environment (such as contamination of groundwater and/or aquifers by leakage and residual soil contamination during landfill usage, as well as after landfill closure); offgassing of methane generated by decaying organic wastes (methane is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide, and can itself be a danger to inhabitants of an area); harbouring of disease vectors such as rats and flies, particularly from improperly operated landfills, which are common in developing countries; injuries to wildlife; and simple nuisance problems (e.g., dust, odour, vermin, or noise pollution).

Most Fuel Efficient Car Engine

Despite shifting into higher gear within the consumer’s green conscience, hybrid vehicles are still tethered to the gas pump via a fuel-thirsty 100-year-old invention: the internal combustion engine.

However, researchers at Michigan State University have built a prototype gasoline engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids. Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.

The engine has a rotor that’s equipped with wave-like channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as the rotor spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber, causing a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel to transmit energy.

The Wave Disk Generator uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion; standard car engines use just 15 percent. As a result, the generator is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than typical combustion engines.

Researchers estimate the new model could shave almost 1,000 pounds off a car’s weight currently taken up by conventional engine systems.

Last week, the prototype was presented to the energy division of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is backing the Michigan State University Engine Research Laboratory with $2.5 million in funding.

Michigan State’s team of engineers hope to have a car-sized 25-kilowatt version of the prototype ready by the end of the year.

Paper Shredding & Waste Paper Disposal Services

When you use Eco Wise paper shredding services, not only do you enjoy the Peace of Mind knowing all of your documents have been destroyed in front of your eyes but you have also done your part in helping the environment.

  • Recycling Paper
  • Saves energy
  • Creates jobs
  • Prevents emissions of many greenhouse gasses and water pollutants
  • Reduces the need for landfills and incinerators
  • Supplies valuable raw materials to industry
  • Stimulate the growth of greener technologies!!!

Quick Facts:

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves:
    17 mature trees
    7,000 gallons of water
    3 cubic yards of landfill space
    2 barrels of oil
    4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity – enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months
  • Recycling causes 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution
  • Recycling 1 ton of print or copy paper saves 2 tons of woodRecurring: Scheduled paper shredding services Customers receive Secure Containers Free of Charge. Place the containers where ever your staff finds it most convenient to discard confidential, sensitive information. Leave the staples, paper clips, even binder clips in the paper – our machine will shred everything!
    On your scheduled pick up day, one of our uniformed staff members will come to your office – collect all of the materials from your containers and shred everything on-site, and recycle the shredded materials.
    One Time PURGE: No job is too large or small Eco Wise is your answer – cleaning out the garage, old tax documents, a warehouse, you name it. Eco Wise will bring one of our shredding machine to your location where we will shred everything onsite. Let our powerful shredding machines free up valuable space and get rid of unwanted documentation.
  • Contact Us for a free Quote! – Feel free to Call us directly (0120) 4212110 or send us a e-mail to receive a quote in writing.
  • When you choose Eco Wise you join a larger movement to save the environment. After we complete the On-Site shredding process, we work with qualified paper mills to securely recycle your shredded paper. Visit our Green Facts to find out more about what you can do for the environment by choosing Eco Wise.
  • Have special shredding needs? Ask us about our Product Destruction Services – we gladly shred materials that might not be so easy to destroy

Hydrogen to Energy

Success for Korean Plasma Gasification Fuel Cell Demo

27 October 2011

The fuel cell system supplied by Canadian fuel cell company, Ballard Power Systems to Korean plasma gasification firm GS Platech for a waste to energy demonstration facility is now operating successfully to provide power to the local South Korean electricity grid.

GS Platech’s pilot plant in Cheongsong is South Korea’s first commercial plasma gasification and vitrification system which utilises the GSplatech’s proprietary non-transferred plasma torch (200 kW X 2) and plasma cyclonic gasifier technology.

The facility is capable of producing sufficient high purity hydrogen to generate 50 kW power through the Ballard fuel cell stacks – supplied by Dantherm Power, Ballard’s backup power systems company.

“This is the first ever demonstration of a waste to energy system incorporating both of these technologies,” claims Jesper Themsen, managing director and CEO of Dantherm Power.

GS Platech says that it intends to further promote this solution to new customers worldwide and, to this end, recently hosted tours of the demonstration site in conjunction with the International Solid Waste Association World Congress 2011.

Attendees were shown the potential for this waste to energy system to address two key environmental issues in tandem: environmentally responsible waste treatment; and clean power production.

The project was undertaken as a national research project of the Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of the Environment, under the framework of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.